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قراءة كتاب A Ball Player's Career Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

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‏اللغة: English
A Ball Player's Career
Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

A Ball Player's Career Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

recently to take the census myself, and so I cannot be expected to certify exactly as to how many men, women and children are contained within the corporate limits.

At the time that I first appeared upon the scene, however, the town was in a decidedly embryonic state, and outside of some half-dozen white families that had squatted there it boasted of no inhabitants save Indians of the Pottawattamie tribe, whose wigwams, or tepees, were scattered here and there upon the prairie and along the banks of the river that then, as now, was not navigable for anything much larger than a flat-bottomed scow.

The first log cabin that was erected in Marshalltown was built by my father, Henry Anson, who is still living, a hale and hearty old man, whose only trouble seems to be, according to his own story, that he is getting too fleshy, and that he finds it more difficult to get about than he used to.

He and his father, Warren Anson, his grandfather, Jonathan Anson, and his great-grandfather, Silas Anson, were all born in Dutchess County, New York, and were direct descendants of one of two brothers, who came to this country from England some time in the seventeenth century. They traced their lineage back to William Anson, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, an eminent barrister in the reign of James I, who purchased the Mansion of Shuzsborough, in the county of Stafford, and, even farther back, to Lord Anson, a high Admiral of the English navy, who was one of the first of that daring band of sailors who circumnavigated the globe and helped to lay the foundation of England's present greatness.

I have said that we were direct descendants of one of two brothers. The other of the original Ansons I am not so proud of, and for this reason: He retained the family name until the Revolutionary war broke out, when he sided with the King and became known as a Tory. Then, not wishing to bear the same name as his, brother, who had espoused the cause of the Colonists, he changed his name to Austin, and some of his descendants my father has met on more than one occasion in his travels.

My mother's maiden name was Jeanette Rice, and she, like my father, was of English descent, so you can see how little Swedish blood there is in my veins, in spite of the nickname of "the Swede" that was often applied to me during my ball-playing career, and which was, I fancy, given me more because of my light hair and ruddy complexion than because of any Swedish characteristics that I possessed.

Early in life my father emigrated from New York State into the wilds of Michigan, and later, after he was married, and while he was but nineteen years of age, and his wife two years his junior, he started out to find a home in the West, traveling in one of the old-fashioned prairie schooners drawn by horses and making his first stop of any account on the banks of the Cedar River in Iowa. This was in the high-water days of 1851, and as the river overflowed its banks and the waters kept rising higher and higher my father concluded that it was hardly a desirable place near which to locate a home, and hitching up his team he saddled a horse and swam the stream, going on to the westward. He finally homesteaded a tract of land on the site of the present town of Marshalltown, which he laid out, and to which he gave the name that it now bears. This, for a time, was known as "Marshall," it being named after the town of Marshall in Michigan, but when a post-office was applied for it was discovered that there was already a post-office of that same name in the State, and so the word "town" was added, and Marshalltown it became, the names of Anson, Ansontown and Ansonville having all been thought of and rejected. Had the name of "Ansonia" occurred at that time to my father's mind, however, I do not think that either Marshall or Marshalltown would have been its title on the map.

It was not so very long after the completion of my father's log cabin, which stood on what is now Marshall-town's main street, that I, the first white child that was born there, came into the world, the exact date of my advent being April 17th, 1852. My brother Sturges Ransome, who is two years my senior, was born at the old home in Michigan, and I had still another brother Melville who died while I was yet a small boy, so at the time of which I write there were three babies in the house, all of them boys, and I the youngest and most troublesome of the lot.

The first real grief that came into my life was the death of my mother, which occurred when I was but seven years old. I remember her now as a large, fine-looking woman, who weighed something over two hundred pounds, and she stood about five feet ten-and-a-half inches in height. This is about all the recollection that I have of her.

If the statements made by my father and by other of our relatives are to be relied upon, and I see no reason why they should not be, I was a natural-born kicker from the very outset of my career, and of very little account in the world, being bent upon making trouble for others. I had no particularly bad traits that I am aware of, only that I was possessed of an instinctive dislike both to study and work, and I shirked them whenever opportunity offered.

I had a penchant, too, for getting into scrapes, and it was indeed a happy time for my relatives when a whole day passed without my being up to some mischief.

Some of my father's people had arrived on the scene before my mother's death, and, attracting other settlers to the scene, Marshalltown, or Marshall as it was then called, was making rapid strides in growth and importance. The Pottawattomies, always friendly to the whites, were particularly fond of my father and I often remember seeing both the bucks and the squaws at our cabin, though I fancy that they were not so fond of us boys as they might have been, for we used to tease and bother them at every opportunity. Johnny Green was their chief, and Johnny, in spite of his looks, was a pretty decent sort of a fellow, though he was as fond of fire-water as any of them and as Iowa was not a prohibition State in those early days he managed now and then to get hold of a little. "The fights that he fought and the rows that he made" were as a rule confined to his own people.

Speaking of the Indians, I remember one little occurrence in which I was concerned during those early days that impressed itself upon my memory in a very vivid fashion, and even now I am disposed to regard it as no laughing matter, although my father entertains a contrary opinion, but then my father was not in my position, and that, ofttimes, makes all the difference in the world.

The Pottawattamies were to have a war dance at the little town of Marietta, some six or seven miles up the river, and of course we boys were determined to be on hand and take part in the festivities. There were some twelve or fifteen of us in the party and we enjoyed the show immensely, as was but natural. Had we all been content to look on and then go home peacefully there would have been no trouble, but what boys would act in such unboyish fashion? Not the boys of Marshalltown, at any rate. It was just our luck to run up against two drunken Indians riding on a single pony, and someone in the party, I don't know who, hit the pony and started him, to bucking.

Angrier Indians were never seen. With a whoop and a yell that went ringing across the prairies they started after us, and how we did leg it! How far some of the others ran I have no means of knowing but I know that I ran every foot of the way back to Marshalltown, nor did I stop until I was safe, as I thought, in my father's house.

My troubles did not end there, however, for along in the darkest hours of the night I started from sleep and saw those two Indians, one standing at the head and one at the foot of the bed, and each of them armed with a tomahawk. That they had come to kill me I was certain, and that they would succeed in doing so seemed to me equally sure. I tried to scream but I could not. I was as powerless as a baby. I finally managed to move and as